Reporting compiled and submitted by KARA volunteer Corey Wasser

NY: New York State’s Safe Harbour Project is working to combat human trafficking (Opinion)
Buffalo News – January 24, 2016
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) works to combat human trafficking through efforts that include the Safe Harbour Project, which assists local social services and volunteer agencies in developing and providing services such as safe housing or emergency housing, mental health counseling, medical care, substance abuse counseling and education and employment skills for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.

NY: Agency supporting at-risk children and families cites “significant need” for more foster care homes (Includes audio)
WBFO – January 21, 2016
On any given day, there are hundreds of children in foster care in Erie County. Agencies providing support to those families say there is a “significant need” for more foster homes locally.
NY: The Collaborative for Children and Families Announces First Executive Director (Press release)
PR Web – January 11, 2016
The Collaborative for Children and Families (CCF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Ms. Jodi Saitowitz as its first Executive Director. Beginning in February 2016, Saitowitz will be leading the collaborative’s first initiative as a Children’s Health Home serving children and Families in New York City, Westchester, Suffolk, and Nassau counties.

NY: A new phase in juvenile justice reform
NYMedia – January 08, 2016
After months of delays, the second and final phase of the New York City Administration of Children’s Services’ Close to Home program has commenced, with four of the six planned sites online, according to a spokesman for the agency. The onboarding of the four new residential sites, with more integrated and comprehensive educational and mental health services, marks an important milestone for the Close to Home program, which seeks to help juvenile offenders more seamlessly transition back into the community.

NY: Home Visiting Program Helps Parents Help Their Kids (Includes audio)
Public News Service – January 08, 2016
The Parent-Child Home Program serves parents and 2- to 3-year-old children with two years of intensive, twice-weekly home visits. Lisa Jamison, a division director at Family Service League, said those visits focus not only on developing learning skills but on strengthening parent-child interactions.
NY: NYC Makes Paid Parental Leave Policy Official
Associated Press – January 07, 2016
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday signed a personnel order that provides paid parental leave to approximately 20,000 New York City employees.

NY: Schumer: Feds should help Syracuse deal with NY’s 2nd highest rate of drug-addicted babies – January 06, 2016
The federal government should give the Syracuse area emergency aid to deal with a prescription-drug epidemic that has led to a record number of babies born addicted to narcotics, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Wednesday.

NY: New NY state laws give corporations, minimum wage workers, a boost in 2016
The Post-Standard – December 30, 2015
On Jan. 19, a new law will give law enforcement agencies investigating missing child cases expedited access to Child Protective Services records if there is reason to believe that a parent, guardian, or other person legally responsible for the child is the subject of a report of child abuse or maltreatment.

NY: Orange County, Family Reach $250K Settlement
Times Herald-Record – December 30, 2015
Orange County has reached a $250,000 settlement with the parents of a 5-year-old girl who was illegally questioned by Child Protective Services following secondhand accusations of sexual abuse, according to a joint statement by the county and the family’s attorneys.

NY: Shining a Fresh Spotlight on New York’s Church Child Abuse (Opinion)
Newsweek – December 30, 2015
Because of New York’s failure to amend the law, there are likely thousands of New Yorkers–many of whom are abuse victims of clergy and other members of the Church–who have no avenue for relief. What’s the answer? How do we rectify or even begin to enumerate the harm done?

NY: Kenneth’s Army protests judge’s decision (Includes video)
CBS 6 – December 23, 2015
Members of the children’s advocacy group Kenneth’s Army held a rally outside the Albany County Family Court building Wednesday morning. The group is upset by the decision of the court to transfer the sisters of Kenneth White from the foster home they have been living in to Brenda Van Alstyne’s aunt. Brenda’s daughter Tiffany was convicted of killing 5-year-old Kenneth. Brenda was the legal guardian of Kenneth and his sisters and is the sister of the children’s biological mother, Christine.

NY: Astorino Announces Federal Grant to Help Ease Transition Out of Foster Care and Prevent Homelessness
Talk of the Sound – December 23, 2015
County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced that Westchester County was recently awarded a $2 million federal grant to help prevent homelessness and promote independence for young adults when they leave the county’s foster care system. Each year, approximately 75 young adults age out of foster care.

NY: Group flags abuse report trends
Rochester City Newspaper – December 23, 2015
The Children’s Agenda, a local youth-focused policy advocacy group, says that the trend coincides with another troubling fact: even though the number of abuse and neglect reports is going up in Monroe County, the number of caseworkers at the county’s Child Protective Services is not. That means that department staff face increasingly heavy workloads.

NY: How New York tracks former foster children
GCN Technology News – December 17, 2015
It wasn’t that long ago that when children left foster care, social services agencies had no way to track their former charges’ progress, or anticipate the issues–ranging from education and job placement to incarceration or homelessness– they might face on their own. That issue was addressed in 2010, when the federal Administration for Children and Families created the National Youth in Transition Database (NYTD), which collects information from each state on sex, race, ethnicity, date of birth and foster care status of children as they transition out of foster care.

NY: Fighting Foster Care: How the System is changing for the Better
Borderless News and Views – December 11, 2015
Foster care is a valuable service provided by The Children’s Aid Society who are rescued from unsafe or unstable homes. In the past, foster homes were sometimes viewed with criticism and concern, as some questioned the credentials of those appointed to care for children in need. However, in recent years the system has been improving through a series of important changes that help to better prepare, monitor, and coordinate foster families and their needs.

NY: Family alleges DSS missed abuse clues (Correction)
Glens Falls Post-Star – December 09, 2015
The family of a boy who was allegedly physically abused by a foster parent late last week claims that foster children were removed earlier this year from the home of the alleged abuser because of injuries but were returned after a day.
NY: Telestory Unites New York Children ? Briefly ? with Incarcerated Parents
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange – December 09, 2015
Telestory iJJIE New York Metro Bureau logos a free city program that connects children to their incarcerated parents through video conferencing. Families can talk to and read to one another face-to-face through a camera and a flat-screen television.

NY: Policy shift improves outcomes for addressing cases of child neglect
News Center: University at Buffalo – December 09, 2015
Child protection services personnel respond to some 3 million reports of maltreatment per year, including child neglect and physical or sexual abuse. Although families are dealing with a variety of issues, and pose different levels of risk to children and youth, many states respond identically to all incidents, regardless of their nature.

NY: When Removing a Child From an Abusive Situation at Home Isn’t the Answer
Care2 – December 07, 2015
During the early 1990s, New York City had a sky-high number of kids in foster care. Now, it’s safely keeping them with their families.

NY: Mayor Takes Strong Stance Following Gloversville Child Abuse Case (Includes video)
Time Warner Cable News – December 02, 2015
The mayor of Gloversville is speaking out about what the city’s police chief called the worst case of child abuse he’s ever seen. Wednesday that little boy’s mother and the man police say attacked him were in court.